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A Statement from Indspire

May 31, 2021.

Indspire is saddened to hear about the tragic discovery of 215 children buried at the site of the former Indian Residential School on Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc territory in Kamloops, British Columbia. Our organization offers its deepest condolences to the families and communities of these children and all who have been impacted by residential schools: those who lost their lives, survivors, their families, and our youth.

As we join together with all of Canada in mourning their loss, standing with the Secwépemc community, we reflect on the lives that have been forever changed by this dark chapter in our country’s shared history.

“Like everyone at Indspire, I was profoundly affected by this news,” said Indspire President & CEO Mike DeGagné. “This heartbreaking loss must be grieved by all, and the lasting effects of Residential Schools on our communities must continue to be acknowledged.”

To honour these lost lives and to aid in our collective movement towards reconciliation, we call on all Canadians to become educated on the history of Residential Schools and the ways in which that history has continued to shape our collective future.

For nearly thirty years, Indspire has helped First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students realize their potential through education, making education an empowering and positive path from the remnants of the residential school system.

In this spirit, Indspire has committed to create a $215,000 fund to support students who are pursuing an education in Indigenous Studies. It is our hope that this commitment will be one more way in which we can further the work of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, simultaneously creating a powerful impact on the future of Indigenous learners while ensuring that this history is not forgotten. In this way, we can continue to learn and heal together, even as we maintain our strong focus on supporting Indigenous students, helping them achieve their dreams through education.

“With this new fund, we will endeavour to build on the strong foundation which we have sought to establish for Indigenous students,” states DeGagné. “It is our hope that it will not only stand as a powerful remembrance of the numerous Indigenous children who attended these schools but will also serve as a reminder that the past cannot and must not be forgotten – even as we work together to shape a brighter future for Indigenous youth through education.”

For those who may need additional supports during this challenging time, we would like to share the following resources:

  1. Truth & Reconciliation Commission Residential Schools Crisis Line: A toll-free line available 24 hours a day for Residential School survivors experiencing pain or distress, seeking emotional support: 1-866-925-4419. More information is available on their website.
  2. KUU-US Crisis Line Society: A culturally safe First Nations and Indigenous specific crisis line available 24 hours a day.
    1. Adults/Elders: 1-800-588-8717
    2. Youth: 250-723-2040
    3. Online: https://www.kuu-uscrisisline.com
  3. Talk 4 Healing: A culturally grounded, fully confidential helpline for Indigenous women, available 24/7:
    Talk 4 Healing Help Line: 1-855-554-HEAL
    Crisis Line: 1-888-200-9997

For inquiries, please contact: communications@indspire.ca.

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